To date, many engineers, designers and user-interface experts have worked hard to make reading on an e-reader or tablet as close to reading on paper as possible. E-ink resembles chemical ink and the simple layout of the Kindle’s screen looks like a page in a paperback. Likewise, Apple’s iBooks attempts to simulate the overall aesthetic of paper books, including somewhat realistic page-turning. Scientific American reports on how research suggests that devices can prevent readers from wholly absorbing longer texts.
How exactly does the technology we use to read change the way we read? How reading on screens differs from reading on paper is relevant not just to the youngest among us, but to just about everyone who reads — to anyone who routinely switches between working long hours in front of a computer at the office and leisurely reading paper magazines and books at home; to people who have embraced e-readers for their convenience and portability, but admit that for some reason they still prefer reading on paper; and to those who have already vowed to forgo tree pulp entirely. As digital texts and technologies become more prevalent, we gain new and more mobile ways of reading — but are we still reading as attentively and thoroughly? How do our brains respond differently to onscreen text than to words on paper? Should we be worried about dividing our attention between pixels and ink or is the validity of such concerns paper-thin?
An emerging collection of studies emphasizes that in addition to screens possibly taxing people’s attention more than paper, people do not always bring as much mental effort to screens in the first place. Subconsciously, many people may think of reading on a computer or tablet as a less serious affair than reading on paper. Based on a detailed 2005 survey of 113 people in northern California, Ziming Liu of San Jose State University concluded that people reading on screens take a lot of shortcuts — they spend more time browsing, scanning and hunting for keywords compared with people reading on paper, and are more likely to read a document once, and only once.
Instant messaging on chat apps, such as WhatsApp, has overtaken the traditional SMS text message for the first time, according to research firm Informa.
Informa said almost 19 billion messages were sent per day on chat apps in 2012, compared with 17.6 billion SMS texts.
The shift is likely to have a big impact on mobile operators, for whom texts have been a key revenue source.
Pamela Clark-Dickson of Informa said some operators were already “seeing a decline in their messaging revenues”.
According to separate estimates by research firm Ovum, more than $23bn (£15bn) of SMS revenue was lost in 2012 due to popularity of chat apps.
Commuting on buses and trains, even crossing the road, people here in Singapore are transfixed by their smartphone screens, and increasingly their fingers are typing at top speed on their chat app of choice. From the BBC:
Armed with a slew of social features and cutesy illustrations called stickers, messaging applications for smartphones which were conceived in South East Asia are changing the way people communicate around the world.
WeChat from China, Line from Japan and KakaoTalk from South Korea, have managed to attract hundreds of millions of users in a very short space of time.
Having conquered their home markets, these companies are setting their sights on global expansion and mounting a challenge to the more established players in the West.
In a sign of the impact of these applications and the importance of messaging to users, US giant Facebook made chat a more central feature of its Facebook Home software which was launched for Android devices earlier this month.
Step into any coffee shop in Singapore and you can see how popular these apps are, and how young people are spending increasing amounts of time using them.
A group of graffiti artists from Graffiti Kings, a company dedicated to turning dull white walls into amazing works of art, descended upon the Nokia offices in Paddington. Carrying 5 shades of blue spray paint and a handful of black markers, they created a massive Nokia logo comprised entirely of Twitter names.
North Korea’s only mobile operator, Koryolink, is about to hit 2 million subscribers, its CEO Ezzeldin Heikal recently told diplomats and NGO workers in Pyongyang. Koryolink launched services in North Korea in 2008 and took more than three years to sign up its millionth subscriber. It doubled that number in just 14 months. From Quartz:
North Koreans can’t do much with their phones: international calls are banned, internet access is limited to “a walled garden of scrubbed content taken from the real Internet”, and calls and texts are monitored by authorities.
Just who are these 2 million subscribers? The service is available in Pyongyang and another 115 cities, covering 14% of North Korea’s territory and 90% of its 24.4 million people. But in a country with average incomes of between $80 and $170 a month, only a fraction of North Koreans can afford it.
Researchers concluded that a person was twice as likely to talk on a mobile, or check for messages, if a companion did the same.
The University of Michigan study discovered that checking a phone created an “alternative outlet” for a person’s attention.
It also found that females were more likely to use their mobile than men because it was more “integrated into the daily lives of women”.
Scientists suggested the study’s findings, published in the Human Ethology Bulletin journal, could be linked to “social exclusion”, in which a human feels the need not be left feeling “out of the loop”.
“What we found most interesting was just how often people were using their mobile phones,” said Dr Daniel Kruger, the study’s co-author.
I can’t quite fathom how a mobile phone could be any more integrated into a woman’s life than a man.
CNET identifies some of the upcoming changes we might expect in our pocket computers.
… smartphones will become increasingly impactful in interacting with our surrounding world, but more as one smaller piece of a much large, interconnected puzzle abuzz with data transfer and information.
- “Sensitive sensors track the world in real time: …the gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, and so forth – are starting to get more friends in the neighborhood. Samsung, for instance, slipped pressure, temperature, and humidity sniffers into the Galaxy S4.“
- “‘Appcessories’: …highly specialized peripheral software that fulfills very targeted needs, stuff that most people wouldn’t want their everyday phone.”
- “Rise of gestures and touch-free input: …Gestures and voice may be starting the trend, but other, more sophisticated transitions and input methods will soon move from wacky option to normal ways of interacting with devices.”
- “The larger ecosystem: …smartphones will come with more components and communications tools to interact more than ever before with people and other devices.”
- “Wearable tech and you: …Your smartphone is still there, still essential for communicating with your environment, but it becomes only one device in a collection of other, even more personal or convenient gadgets, that solve some of the same sorts of problems in different or complimentary ways.”
Smartskin Condoms for Smartphones are soft and stretchy plastic skins that cover your device to protect it, while still retaining full touchscreen capability and 98% camera clarity. The skins slip on and stretch to fit, and sealing tabs are provided to stick over the remaining area.
Useful for last minute protection from rain and sand. This looks nicer than my current sandwich bag solution.
Available for a range of popular smartphones from Firebox.
Contrary to what Hollywood movies might tell you, there’s much more to do in Bangkok than visiting the red light district. It is truly a city of culture, wonderment and some of the best dining in the world that will make for a vacation of a lifetime.
Before a night out on the town, it’s best to reflect about your past, present and future with a trip to one of the many Buddhist temples in Bangkok. Known locally as wats, one of the most famous Temples in Bangkok and the entire world is the Grand Palace. Another trek worth taking is to the Wat Kalayanamit to see Thailand’s largest indoor sitting Buddha that is almost 50 feet high.
Shopping In Siam
One of the main tourist destinations in Bangkok is the Siam shopping center. Western currency goes a long way in Bangkok, perhaps none more than at shopping centers where visitors can purchase designer clothes at a fraction of the price. Men also like the various haberdasheries where they can get tailored suits custom fit in only a day or two. Thailand locals appreciate it when visitors dress nicely and nothing says style like a form fitting suit.
See A Muay-Thai Fight
Mixed martial arts is a global phenomenon and Thailand is the birthplace to one of the world’s most popular fighting forms. Fights in Bangkok are unique because they feature a pre-fight dance ritual that honors teachers and a live band performs at the matches.
Attend A Day Festival
With all the spirituality and local tradition represented in Bangkok, there’s hardly a week that goes by when there isn’t some sort of festival in the city. Many popular events pay tribute to the Buddhist religion while others are celebrations of local music and even one strictly for vegetables. Along with festivals are various markets where consumers can find clothes, electronics, jewelery and more at bargain basement prices.
Remember, you’re in Bangkok so now’s the time to enjoy the nightlife and live on the edge. Enjoy a drink high above the sky at a rooftop bar and visit some of the cabarets and exotic dance clubs that have made Bangkok an Internationally renowned treasure.
“Experts” have warned that parents who allow babies and toddlers to access tablet computers for several hours a day are in danger of causing “dangerous” long term effects (I think neglecting your child for several hours a day in any form might also cause long term effects). The Telegraph writes:
The youngest known patient being treated in the UK is a four-year-old girl from the South East.
Her parents enrolled her for compulsive behaviour therapy after she became increasingly “distressed and inconsolable” when the iPad was taken away from her.
Her use of the device had escalated over the course of a year and she had become addicted to using it up for to four hours a day.
Dr Richard Graham, who launched the UK’s first technology addiction programme three years ago, said he believed there were many more addicts of her age.
Psychiatrists estimate that the number of people who have become digitally dependent has risen by 30 per cent over the past three years.
It may be fun to automatically dismiss devices like this but I find these to be an attractive option. They look smart too (I’m heavily invested in iOS but a part of me wants to see Nokia succeed). From the BBC:
The feature triggers the cross-platform messaging app which offers a free alternative to SMS texts.
HTC and Nokia have previously released handsets with Facebook-devoted buttons, but this marks a first for WhatsApp.
Analysts suggested the move would make WhatsApp the text app of choice on the handsets, but suggested it would have limited impact on the wider mobile phone market.